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Asian Dub Foundation's Pandit G on their new album

Asian Dub Foundation have been producing political music for over a decade — influenced by styles ranging from reggae to bhangra, from drum ’n’ bass to punk. Group member Pandit G spoke to Joseph Choonara about their new album, Tank

Issue No. 1941

Musically our new album carries on from Enemy of the Enemy. It is a little bit more melodic, but it also returns to some of the influences — like drum ’n’ bass — from when we started out.

We’ve brought in some great new musicians like Ghetto Priest — he’s a brilliant reggae singer. We’re also joined by Lord Kimo.

He performs tracks on the album like “Round Up”. This track is about Pakistani youth being picked up by the police. It’s our comment on everything being done in the name of the “war on terror”.

Some of the tracks are based on the group’s experiences in Brazil. “Power Lines” is about the Krikati Indians in Brazil who cut down power lines running through their land, forcing the government into negotiations about their rights.

Another track, “19 Rebellions”, is about co-ordinated rebellions in 19 prisons across Brazil. And “Oil” is simply about the politics of oil.

Recent wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and even in the Balkans were all about grabbing resources.

Most music today seems to be going back to the 1980s. We’re waiting till the 2020s when they try to revive music from this decade. What will they play then? There’s only so much Franz Ferdinand you can listen to.

Our aim has always been to cause a debate. We want to be experimental, but also accessible.

There’s always lots of talk about Asians and Asian music arriving. But if you look at TV programmes like Desi DNA, they have no real idea of what is really happening.

There is a new generation of artists who are moving up. To me there’s a lot more going on — but whether it gets played is another question. We do some education projects with young crews, but it is as difficult as it was when we started if you are doing something different and want to be political. The record companies still call the shots.

We are involved in lots of things right now. People loved the soundtrack to The Battle of Algiers film we did. We’d like to do it again, it’s such a topical piece of work — now is the time to do it.

The Scottish Socialist Party are putting on a gig in March, which we’ll be involved in. And hopefully we’ll be going to Morocco to meet North African and Arab musicians.

Tank was released this week.

Asian Dub Foundation website: www.asiandubfoundation.com


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Reviews
Sat 5 Mar 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1941
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